Schuchat said Tuesday that 9.8 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine are available. "I am happy to say that about half of the vaccine that's available for order is now the injectable form," she said.
The first batches of the vaccine were in a nasal spray called FluMist. Because FluMist is a live vaccine, it's only recommended for healthy people between 2 and 49 years old, and not for pregnant women, Schuchat said.
Schuchat said the availability of the H1N1 vaccine will continue to grow, and ample supplies should be on hand by the end of October and early November. The CDC has been saying for some time that it anticipates having 40 million doses by the end of October and 190 million doses by year's end.
"Pregnancy and underlying conditions are ones that we highlight as recommended to receive the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available in communities," she said.
As for the regular seasonal flu, Schuchat said 77 million doses of that vaccine have been shipped. Although some parts of the country are seeing shortages of the vaccine, those shortfalls are expected to be temporary, with large quantities of the vaccine to be available in late October and November.
Since the seasonal flu season hasn't started yet, there's plenty of time to get a seasonal flu shot, even into December, Schuchat said.
For more on the H1N1 flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: University of Michigan Medical School, news release, Oct. 7, 2009; Agence France-Presse; Oct. 13, 2009, teleconference with Anne Schuchat, M.D., director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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